One of the key criteria that a lot of banks put out these days is to meet a certain amount of spend before you can have access to a bonus kitty of miles. The intention is to get the customers to spend a certain amount of money on the card in a certain period of time, and get them used to the card. Take for instance the following:
- Citibank PremierMiles wants you to spend INR 50,000 to be able to receive an extra 10,000 PremierMiles on a new application within the first 60 days.
- IndusInd wants you to spend INR 125,000 to be able to earn an extra 20,000 JPMiles within the first 100 days.
- SBI Air India Visa Signature Card has tier-linked bonuses, and you can earn 20,000 AI Miles on achieving INR 3 Lakh spend within the year, another 20,000 AI Miles on achieving INR 5 Lakh spend within the year, and 50,000 AI Miles on achieving 10 Lakh spend within the year.
Now, sometimes you may be able to spend the money and take the benefits off the table, sometimes you may not be able to meet the spend limit in the amount of time the banks tell you to fit in. In which cases, I find it very easy to buy gift cards, which allow me to store monetary value today for usage later.
Don’t confuse this gift card churning like in the USA. Around there, you get to maximise the categories of your Gift Cards by buying them from drug stores and so on, and you can then just reload them back via certain accounts and circle the cash back into your pocket, or pay your bills from it.
Around India, most Gift Cards from banks are not offered to buy via credit cards, only via account debits. However, American Express offers Gift Cards which you can buy for use at a later date, and use for yourself or gift to someone else. These can be bought at a website called amexgifts.in which is the only authorised website to sell them on behalf of American Express in India. It takes 4-5 working days for American Express to process the purchase and ship the cards to you, and I hear it may be faster if you use an India-issued American Express card to pay for it.
These Gift Cards can be used for online and offline purchases in INR but not at ATMs to withdraw cash. Also, they are valid for a year from issuance date.
Anyhow, the reason this becomes interesting is because American Express Gift Cards are being offered at a 2% discount these days on the website mentioned above. This means, you get INR 5000 worth of gift cards for INR 4900 each. These gift cards are available in the denomination of INR 1000, INR 2000 and INR 5000, and you can buy at the most 5 in one transaction. There is a shipping charge of INR 50 as well, so it makes sense to buy the most number of these in one go for your needs.
Interestingly, this opportunity existed last year with 5% off, and now, just 2%. But it is still free money on the table and earning miles to use these gift cards.
While there is no end date for the discount specified here, I assume this is going to be valid only for a few days. So enjoy it while it lasts.
Any other Indian MS opportunities out there you’d like to share? write to me at aj at livefromalounge dot com.